Book of Boba Fett: Not All Characters are Protagonists

SPOILERS for Episodes 5 and 6 of The Book of Boba Fett.

Before I start writing this, I need to say that this post is not a knock on Temuera Morrison or his performance in this show. It’s about the limitations of Boba Fett’s character, and those limitations probably hinder the performance that Temuera can give. I think he’s doing his best with the writing he’s given!

Okay, so I was going to blog about how boring and surface-level The Book of Boba Fett. I made myself watch the first four episodes of this show, and they were so dull! When I was watching those episodes, my sister would occasionally poke her head in and say, “NO ONE ASKED FOR THIS!”

And she’s partly right. Most Star Wars fans did not ask for The Book of Boba Fett. But Boba has this weird cult following of people who REALLY want to watch and/or read about Boba having various adventures. Those people read a bunch of novels about Boba during the ’80s and ’90s, and they’ve been clamoring for a Boba Fett movie. So this show exists to placate them. I hope they enjoy it.

Look! It’s a man in a helmet, and he’s sitting on a crime lord’s throne!

The thing is, Boba’s not meant to be a main character. He works best as a flashy visiting character because that’s what he’s always been. Boba shows up, looks cool, and does badass stuff. Then he leaves or falls into a Sarlacc pit. I think Boba should show up every so often in things like The Mandalorian, but he doesn’t have enough of an interior (or exterior) struggle to warrant an entire show about him.

That’s why I loved Episodes 5 and 6 of The Book of Boba Fett. Instead of focusing on the (honestly rather dull) underworld of Mos Espa, it revisits characters that we love and that have some sort of struggle going on. Our friend the Mandalorian is missing his adopted child Grogu and struggling with the fundamentalist ideas of the rather extreme Mandalorian culture he was raised in. Cobb Vanth struggles to keep his town safe on a planet that inherently attracts dangerous criminals and outlaws.

Best budding bromance in a galaxy far, far away.

Boba Fett, on the other hand, wants to be a respectful crime lord because…why not? And he went native with the Tuskens. Okay? That’s not an interesting struggle. The only interesting things was that the Tuskens were yet again humanized after years of George Lucas treating them as a violent “other” type of people. (Newsflash: George Lucas has never been good at representation.)

Anyway…

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Mary Sues and Our Fear of Capable Women

SPOILERS for many works, including Star Wars, Hawkeye, Loki, and other things.

I wrote a blog in the first half of 2020 about how Rey and Captain Marvel aren’t Mary Sues. Since then, I’ve seen people call other recent female characters Mary Sues. This is particularly true for Sylvie in Loki. I think this phenomenon goes on because our society is afraid of capable women and we want to separate ourselves from fans who like those characters. Also, I think many of us just can’t wrap our heads around the concept that female characters can fulfill fantasies for women, not for men.

I began thinking about this topic again after I watched the first two episodes of Hawkeye. During those episode, I found myself really enjoying the character of Kate Bishop. She’s wealthy, pretty, clever, funny, and extremely capable in combat. All of sudden, I began to worry: Are people going to slap the term “Mary Sue” onto Kate Bishop and use that term as an excuse to dislike her?

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Captain Marvel: Why Carol Doesn’t Need to Fight Yon-Rogg One-On-One

SPOILERS for Captain Marvel. ALL OF THE SPOILERS.

My brother told me recently that some people on the internet believe that Carol Danvers should fight Yon-Rogg at the end of Captain Marvel. When he told me that, my immediate reaction was “NOPE. NOPENOPENOPE.”

Why did I react so negatively to that idea? Because Carol fighting Yon-Rogg (the man who manipulated and gaslit her for six years) one-on-one would completely defeat one of the movie’s major points.

And what is that point? That Carol doesn’t have to conform to Yon-Rogg’s rules or standards. She makes her rules and her own decisions. She will no longer deal with his or anyone else’s gaslighting.

Resolving Carol’s story with a one-on-one fight with her supposed mentor would only conform to straight white fanboys’ expectations for how heroes’ origin stories must resolve. But Captain Marvel is a movie that actively defies their expectations, which part of the reason that those members of the MCU fandom don’t like this movie very much. Let’s break down why Carol’s refusal to fight Yon-Rogg one-on-one is the right decision for this narrative’s conclusion.

This image can be summed up as “Woman stands between her new friend and her abuser.”
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Why Fear Street: 1994 is So Damn AWESOME

SPOILERS for Netflix’s Fear Street: 1994. There may also be spoilers for some of the original Fear Street books, which I read five bazillion years ago.

Gah, okay, I just watched Fear Street: 1994, and I am SO HAPPY! I loved the Fear Street books when I was in my tweens and early teens, and some of the stuff from those books still lives rent-free in my head*. When I found out Netflix was adapting Fear Street, I started freaking out with excitement. Now that I’ve watched the first of the three installments, I’m even more excited! They did a great job of adapting and updating the book series’ mythos of Shadyside, that ever-cursed town, without adapting any of the books directly.

Fear Street 1994
Three teens trying to put a 16th century witch’s spirit to rest. Just typical Fear Street stuff.

*Thanks to the 99 Fear Street trilogy, I had an irrational fear of garbage disposals that lasted into my mid-twenties. I could use garbage disposals, but I always had images in my head of someone getting their hand stuck in one. Thanks for that, R.L. Stine!

Before I break down what I loved about Fear Street: 1994, I want to talk about why I loved the books so much. They were the pulpy horror books that I devoured. I was never really into Goosebumps, but Fear Street was just the young adult (YA) series I needed when I was waiting for the rest of the Harry Potter and A Series of Unfortunate Events books to be released. Yes, there was a time when readers were still waiting for HP and ASoUE books to be published. Anyway, Fear Street was a series about the residents of Shadyside, a town where citizens tended to die at an alarming rate. As the books progressed, they became more about curses and ghosts and witchcraft, particularly with The Fear Street Saga trilogy and Fear Street Sagas, both of which combined pulpy horror with (probably not that accurate) historical fiction. The characters were pretty much always teenagers, and they often got into crazy horror/supernatural dealings. I always cared enough about the protagonists that I hoped they would survive. Mostly, they did, but a few weren’t that lucky. It was a great series for someone who was just beginning to have a more teenage view of the world. Also, most of the books had been published by the time I discovered the series, so I didn’t have to wait for anything!

Okay, now that I’m done babbling about the book series, let’s dig into why Fear Street: 1994 is fantastic:

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The Falcon and the Winter Soldier: Why We Hate John Walker So Much

SPOILERS for The Falcon and The Winter Soldier through Episode 4, “The World is Watching.”

Note: When I talk about how much we hate John Walker and why, I’m talking about the character, not his actor, Wyatt Russell. Some people online cannot distinguish between character and actor in this case. Please don’t attack Wyatt Russell as a person.

Okay, if there’s one MCU character we all despise right now, it’s John Walker, the Captain America impostor on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

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WandaVision: Why Wanda Maximoff Shouldn’t Be Punished

SPOILERS for WandaVision. And everything in the MCU that relates to Wanda Maximoff.

CONTENT WARNING: This post has mentions of verbal and sexual abuse and women’s trauma in general.

WandaVision was a fun, fascinating ride, and I enjoyed every minute of it, even the emotionally tough bits. I loved everything about it: the sitcom parodies and references, the cast’s performances and chemistry, the balance of comedy and drama, all of it. I felt a little let down by the final episode, but finales are hard to nail, especially when you build up a show as much as this show was built up week after week. Overall, it’s a great show.

My favorite part of the show, though, is Wanda Maximoff herself. Elizabeth Olsen gives a fantastic performance, of course, and that’s part of why I love Wanda so much. But Wanda’s whole journey through her grief and trauma resonated with me a lot on a personal level.

Ladies and Gentlemen: Wanda Maximoff, the Strongest Avenger
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The Mandalorian: Why Cobb Vanth is Awesome

SPOILERS for Season 2 of The Mandalorian. LOTS of SPOILERS.

So the second season of The Mandalorian has started dropping on Disney+, and I love the Season 2 premiere (a.k.a. Chapter 9, The Marshal) SO MUCH. I’ve rewatched it 3 1/2 times, and it was my show and episode of choice on Election Night 2020. Because a bunch of people from different racial and ethnic groups coming together to defeat a dangerous monster just feels so relatable right now. But we’re not here to talk about the Krayt Dragon, or even Mando and Baby Yoda. We’re here to talk about that suave silver fox Marshal of Mos Pelgo, Cobb Vanth.

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Characters Who Are Similar to Donald Trump

SPOILERS for ALL fictional works mentioned below.

Okay, folks. We are one month away from the election that could save or damn the United States’ soul. We just had the presidential debates. I did not watch them, though I saw some clips from it on social media. Instead, I read Too Much and Never Enough by Mary L. Trump, Ph.D. She’s Donald Trump’s niece, and she’s a psychologist who specializes in trauma, so she has a lot of fascinating insights about her awful uncle and her family at large. (To sum up: Donald Trump and his siblings are very strange people who were raised by a sociopath and his emotionally needy wife. They don’t trust or even like each other.) Between reading this book and just paying any attention to Trump’s antics over the past four years, I realized he reminds me of several prominent fictional characters.

This is the only photo of Trump that will appear here because I don’t want anymore photos of him saved to my computer.

Before I begin, I want to point out that these character are similar to Trump, but they are not exactly like him. In fact, I plan to point out the differences between Trump and these characters as well as the similarities.

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Why Crime Shows Should Pattern Themselves After Grantchester

Alternate Title: Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Police Brutality

Note: I did not write this blog. This is a guest blog written by my sister, JoJo. She has lots of thoughts about this show and this topic, so I encouraged her to blog about it.

In the months since the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor by American police officers, TV shows featuring cops have come under much scrutiny. Much of this scrutiny pertains to the glorification of police brutality as a means to solve the mystery and serve justice. More specifically, those against this type of representation argue that these shows glorify cops who go rogue and break the law in the name of justice. This then normalizes the real-life actions of cops who kill unarmed black people and are not held accountable for their actions. For a fuller explanation of this phenomenon, I suggest this Daily Show clip.

Since this criticism has arisen, many wonder what we should do with cop shows. Some even wonder if we should get rid of them altogether. While I agree that the American portrayal of police brutality is harmful and wrong, I don’t agree that we need to get rid of police shows altogether (although, we could maybe use a few fewer CSIs and Law and Orders). What many don’t realize is that Britain has provided us with a template for how to represent the police without glorifying them or police brutality. One of the best, though not perfect, examples of this is Grantchester.

Will is on the left, Sidney is on the right, and Geordie is in the trenchcoat.
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